If I was writing this blog a few years ago, then I would be focusing on things such as building relationships, stopping broadcast-style messages and forgetting your hashtags. In fact, there is an eBook that I put together called “The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media” that covers the basics and is still relevant today. However, as the industry has developed, there is a new shift in the way in which businesses present themselves online, and (in my opinion) a new set of social media mistakes has emerged.
Below are the common mistakes that make me cringe when I see them online. If you want your business to grow then please take note of the following:-
#1 – Not embracing “Story Telling”
The best way to bring your social media content to life is to include stories and to know your “Why”. If you have not read the famous book by Simon Sinek, “Start with Why”, then I would urge you to do so. If you know your “why” then you can focus on storytelling in bite-sized chunks that relate to your target audience. When I talk about “storytelling”, I am not expecting you to write a fable, it is just a way of realising that stories happen all around you every day. A story humanises your content and makes it less “salesy”. Many of you would have heard of our giraffe fart story (read here), or the “beans on toast” story, which relates to how to produce content on your social media channels. Both of these stories help us relate our services in an easy to understand way. What is your story?
#2 – Believing that social media alone is your superhero
Many businesses arrive on the Green Umbrella doorstep because they think that social media is the answer to their lack of sales. Social media activity will certainly drive sales if executed on the right platforms, in the right way, with the right strategy, but it will never happen overnight. It takes time to build up a loyal following that is engaged with your brand. Over the last ten years, we have learned to manage clients' expectations and to also encourage them to continue with traditional marketing techniques. Social Media is NOT your superhero; it needs to be a cog that makes the whole machine work, along with lots of other cogs.
Another mistake that I often see is that traditional media such as brochures and flyers are not consistent with the company's online marketing. If a potential client picks up one of your brochures then looks at your website or social media channels and there is no consistency of message, brand or tone of voice, then you are instantly causing friction in that client's mind. Every part of your marketing needs to speak the same language.
#3 – Believing that social media is free
Even though it is a bitter pill to swallow, advertising on social media channels (especially Facebook & Instagram) is essential if you want exposure for your content. No longer can you post something on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or even Pinterest and expect your fans or people that have clicked “follow” to see your content. It just doesn't happen.
It does not make sense to spend lots of time curating the best videos, images and posts for your social channels without putting a few quid behind it to promote the content. If you know that no-one is going to see it if you don't spend money promoting it, then why create it in the first place?
The worst culprit for penalising you for not advertising is Facebook. If you are expecting traction from your Facebook page and you do not have a budget for advertising then I wish you luck!
#4 – Consistently ignoring context
As mentioned in a recent blog article, newsjacking and trendjacking tactics no longer work on social media channels if it has no relevance to your industry. Please stay away from posting that someone has died if they are not relevant to your industry, or posting about a national day of the year that has nothing to do with your business. For example, as I type, today is national Handcuff Day. I have just searched online and a property company have used this, as well as a recruitment agency, and it has no relevance. Yes, there are comments; but it does make me think about their marketing strategy.
Don't get me wrong, I personally love the national days, and they provide some fantastic Facebook fodder for your page, but use in context and always tie it in with something that is relevant to your business, or the personality of your people/team.
#5 – Focusing on vanity statistics
If there is one issue around social media it is the statistics. Digital metrics come from all angles, and it is difficult to decide which statistics are important. Not that long ago I was challenged by a client to get him 20k followers on Twitter. Achieving 20k followers is relatively easy if the numbers are all that I want. I simply go onto Fivr.com and purchase a bunch of new followers for a nominal price, but what does that achieve? In all honesty, I would rather have 200 followers with 150 of them engaged and really interested in my content, than 10k followers with only a handful of people interested.
If likes and follows are the primary metric that you are focusing on then your business will not grow. The main areas of focus should be quality, not quantity, therefore look at engagement, reach, time spent on videos, impressions, the location of your audience, goal conversion stats, etc. Time is precious, so understanding your analytics and ensuring that you are continuously tweaking your strategy to enhance conversions is the key to success.
Times have changed. Social media has changed. Have you changed, or are you still implementing the same strategy that you were doing a few years ago? Do you have a budget for advertising? Are you humanising your content with stories? Are you measuring the right stats? Are you continuing with traditional marketing avenues? If not, then perhaps it is time to stop and perhaps book a strategy session with Green Umbrella? (See what I did there?).